Depositional ages and provenance of metasedimentary rocks provide constraints on the architecture of the interface between the Slave and Rae cratons and processes related to the Thelon Orogen. Clastic rocks analysed from the central Thelon tectonic zone are Paleoproterozoic in age and not remnants of the Archean Yellowknife Supergroup (Slave Province), as originally considered. Two assemblages are recognized. An older clastic assemblage deposited after 2.09 Ga contains detrital zircon age modes of 2.3 and 2.17 Ga, with subordinate Neoarchean and Paleoarchean detritus. Its deposition is interpreted to predate Thelon magmatic activity given that (1) it lacks ca. 2.01–1.97 Ga detritus of Thelon magmatic origin, and (2) correlative clastic rocks occur as inclusions in Thelon plutons and contain ca. 2.0 Ga metamorphic monazite. This assemblage is correlative with both the Mary Frances and Rutledge River groups, establishing a >800 km long basin at ca. 2.1 Ga that received detritus from the western Rae and (or) Buffalo Head terrane(s). Separation from the Slave craton at this time is consistent with the absence of any Slave-affinity detritus. A younger assemblage deposited after 1.95 Ga and prior to 1.91 Ga contains mainly 2.02–1.95 Ga detrital zircon, age modes comparable with adjacent Thelon convergent-margin plutonic rocks. The younger assemblage records deposition of the uplifted and eroded Thelon magmatic arc in an intermontane or foreland basin setting during the later stages of post-collisional convergence. These U–Pb zircon data support a tectonic model for western Laurentia that reconciles differences between the Thelon and Taltson magmatic zones involving ca. 2.1 Ga rifting, ca. 2.01–1.97 Ga convergence, followed by <1.95 Ga thrust-driven exhumation.

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